I am of the understanding that an Economy is broken down as follows:

  • Traditional;
  • Command;
  • Market;
  • Mixed.

Each Economy being made up of Sectors, which in turn, are made up of Industries.

Simply put, what defines a Sector? I understand that it is the broad categorisation of its associated Industries but is there some kind of universal criteria that need to be met for a term to be viewed as a Sector?

I say criteria, as I come across many interpretations of what a Sector is. For example, some sources state that a Sector is made up as follows:

  1. Primary;
  2. Secondary;
  3. Tertiary;
  4. Quaternary;
  5. Quinary.

Other sources then approach sectors from a sense of ownership as follows:

  1. Public/State Sector;
  2. Private Sector;
  3. Voluntary Sector.

Then there are the other sources who look at Sectors from the view of a Broad Categorisation of Products/Services. For example:

  1. Financial;
  2. Healthcare;
  3. Hospitality.

As well as terms seemingly being used interchangeably, it also appears that some sources see Sectors as Industries and vice versa.

Any clarity, on the differentiation, would be greatly appreciated.

  • $\begingroup$ Your example of Financial/Healthcare/Hospitality sectors would often be seen as parts of the Tertiary or Service sector. Your Public/Private/Voluntary split is more about ownership. But the key point is that sector is being used as a kind of part, and that just depends on how you cut up the economy $\endgroup$
    – Henry
    Feb 16 '19 at 9:42

The division of the economy into sectors is arbitrary, meaning there is no universally accepted division of the economy. It is contextually dependent.


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